Monday, July 31, 2006


So I downloaded it last week off iTunes, and I watched it finally this morning on the way into work. And although I don’t want to go on about it too much, cause it really wasn’t very exciting. I definitely understand why Aquaman was left in the dust during the WB, UPN merger (READ). I’m not a huge Aquaman fanboy or anything to begin with (WIKI), but I do read JLA, and I can understand the potential in the character. I think it was Geoff Johns who I heard say in an interview once that he thought Aquaman was a great character only no one has ever found a way to write him well, or at least consistently well. But honestly folks, he talks to fishes, what kind of a super power is that?! OK, ok, I kid… but really most people (my age) probably know Aquaman from the Superfriends cartoon, and even though he has been written somewhat better (darker, more conflicted) over the past few years in the comics, and even his appearances on the JLA / JLU cartoons have been pretty cool. It’s been a tough road for him to leave the bright orange and scaled shirt and the green tights behind. I mean can you really picture him NOT riding a dolphin, with that goofy California surfer-boy smile? The character is just lame, as unfortunate as it is, he just kind of sucks.

So really I probably shouldn’t have been expecting much from the Aquaman live action tv show. If you don’t know this was a show in the vein of Smallville created actually by the same guys that would follow Arthur Curry (aka Aquaman) as he discovered his true destiny ‘Under da Sea… do do do do…. Under da sea… cause life is better down where its wetter, take it from me…” ok stop. Sorry. That just came out. I apologize. They only ever made a pilot but it sets up the series thusly: our hero Arthur, discovers he is the secret prince of Atlantis who must under the watchful tutelage of Ving Rhames learn all about his people, and culture in order to reclaim the throne and free his people from the terrors of the deep (in the comics this would probably be his evil half brother– Ocean Master, or the nefarious Black Manta). Also we establish some baddies for the show; namely the mysterious undersea people who in this episode oare represented by a hot Siren chick, and the human government who are investigating the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle.

The thing is, the pilot plays out like a poor man’s Smallville, which is also a tragically flawed show, yes there are moments or scenes here and there Some of the characters have nice simple pieces (like Lou Diamond Phillips at the beginning), or the scene where a 10 year old Arthur wakes up after a plane crash in the water atop the back of a surfaced whale. These are nice scenes yes, but there is so much crap here too. Ving Rhames, I love the guy, but he just doesn’t sell the premise, the Siren baddie is totally ridiculous, Arthurs boss… WTF?! How come he just brushed off the fact that he is like a superhuman in the water until now. Why the hell doesn’t anything and anyone’s motivation really make sense when you think about it. And most of all, the main actor Justin Hartley just doesn’t cut it. He doesn’t have the presence, or the charisma to pull this show off. I mean this guy is supposed to be the prince of Atlantis?! No way.

Originally they had cast another actor Will Toale as Aquaman (which was also at one time called Mercy Reef) but I don't thin that really would've helped the situation. I just think this show wasn't meant to be, despite the resounding, if embarassing cultural impact of Aquaman.

I suppose it might’ve gotten better given time, but it won’t get that chance now, and maybe that’s just for the best. Aquaman I rate you 4 soggy dolphins, out of 10.

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